- Type: Attractions
NileGuide Expert Says:
The Botanic Gardens are a peaceful way to spend the day and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
NileGuide Expert tip:
Entrance to the gardens is free, but be prepared for $20 parking. The gardens are also accessible by Metra and bike.
Despite its name, the world-class Chicago Botanic Garden is 25 miles north of the city in the suburb of Glencoe. This 385-acre living preserve includes eight large lagoons and a variety of distinct botanical environments including the Illinois prairie, an English walled garden, and a three-island Japanese garden. Also on the grounds are a large fruit-and-vegetable garden, an "enabling garden" (which shows how gardening can be adapted for people with disabilities), and a 100-acre old-growth oak woodland. If you're here in the summer, don't miss the extensive rose gardens (just follow the bridal parties who flock here to get their pictures taken). The Botanic Garden also has an exhibit hall, auditorium, museum, library, education greenhouses, outdoor pavilion, carillon, cafe, designated bike path, and garden shop. Carillon concerts take place at 7pm Monday evenings from late June through August; tours of the carillon are offered beforehand.
Every summer the Botanic Garden stages a special outdoor exhibition (one year giant animal-shaped topiaries stood in unexpected locations throughout the grounds; another year, model railroads wound through miniature versions of American national parks). Check the website or call for event schedules. Allow 3 hours.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2009
- Highly Recommended 2010